Department of Agriculture extends validity of importing fish
The Department of Agriculture (DA) extended the validity of the 38,695 metric tons that represent the unused balance of the previous permit for 60,000 MT as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported that the country would have a deficit of 90,000 metric tons (MT) supply of fish for the rest of the year.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar noted that local fish catch and production from both marine waters and aquaculture, respectively, has decreased due to several factors which includes high fuel cost, the increasing prices of milkfish and tilapia and the the observance of a closed fishing season in Davao that decrease the fish catch in the area
"Palawan commercial fishing groups hardly went out due to high fuel cost, thus unloading of galunggong or roundscad declined considerably," he said.
"The prices of bangus and tilapia have increased by at least P20 per kilogram (kg), from P160/kg to P180/kg for bangus, and P120/kg to P140/kg for tilapia. For round scad (galunggong), fresh catch sells for P240/kg, while imported ones retail for P210/kg to P240/kg," he added.
Dar said the government continues to prioritize making fisherfolk productive and competitive to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fish and shield the local industry from adverse impact of rising fuel prices and logistics bottlenecks and restrictions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“Part of our action plan is to enhance fish production in appropriate aquaculture and marine areas, in a sustainable manner. That is why we are asking for additional P1 billion so that we will be able to provide more assistance and projects for the fishermen to help them increase their production and profit," he said.
“We need to carefully balance the interests of both producers and consumers," he added. Robina Asido/DMS